Have some New Year's resolutions regarding career or business success? In today's high speed, competitive market you'd be crazy not to - and even crazier not to keep 'customer loyalty' front and center of your intentions.
Former Dell CIO Jerry Gregoire alluded to the critical importance of achieving customer loyalty when he said, "The customer experience is the next competitive battleground." Amen! The customer experience makes or breaks customer loyalty. With so many choices today, it's the quality of the experience - how you repeatedly make your customers feel at each and every touchpoint - that will determine whether or not they'll come back, purchase more, and refer their colleagues and friends to you.
It's all about your customers' perception of the value you deliver, both tangible and intangible. You may think you know the kind of customer experience you're delivering, and that your customers share your views. You may think that because your customers stick around and don't complain they are loyal.
In fact, you may be mistaking customer inertia for loyalty. It's easy to do. Remember that loyalty is a genuine emotional attachment that occurs when your customers appreciate the value of your product or service, as well as the way you deliver it. Because they repeatedly feel powerful, positive emotions in dealing with you they'll choose you above your competitors - even if they have to go out of their way or pay a bit more.
Yes, strong customer loyalty pays. It puts your business into a profit-building cycle in a number of common sense ways:
1) Loyal customers buy more - and are often willing to pay more. This creates a steadier cash flow.
2) Loyal customers refer others to your business - saving you the marketing and advertising costs of acquiring customers.
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